Discernment Question Series: Were There Misgivings or Misunderstandings About the Religious Life That You Had to Overcome?

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

February 10, 2024

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Carmen Marie responds to discernment question posed by a twenty-something young women.

Were there misgivings or misunderstandings about the religious life that you had to overcome?

Before Convent

I went to a Catholic High School where there were five different women religious congregations: Benedictines, St. Louis’, Carmelites, Franciscans and Immaculate Heart. I was able to observe them in interactions with the students and with each other. I had them for teachers and other services that they provided at the school. I didn’t think I could be a Franciscan because they were tall and smart (they mainly taught in the science department). The Carmelites mainly taught in the religion area and I was attracted to them.

I can’t say that I had a real understanding of religious life during my high school years, I just felt this attraction to the life that ultimately asked you to love God with your whole life. This is what I understood religious life to mean.

After I entered

Having been born and raised in East Los Angeles, CA and moving to Manitowoc, WI was like moving from one planet to another! My struggles in the beginning (I was 21 when I came) were mainly cultural (foods, customs) plus religious congregation (practices) and ethic differences (German, Irish, Mexican). As I struggled, my belief was that God had called me and that I promised that I would do whatever He asked of me. Plus, my mom told me to not come home for at least a year! Very wise words! She knew I would get homesick, lonely, struggle with just being with new people/women and different ways. She was absolutely right.

As I grew into this way of life and what it meant both in spirit and love, I continue to struggle but that is what life is about if you are going to grow. I am happy to have been chosen and to chose to live this life.

The world needs you. God calls you. We invite you. Consider our upcoming discernment opportunities.

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